Stanley is a 14 year old boy from a poor family that claims his family is affected by a curse from his ancestors. One day Stanley is walking home from school when he suddenly has a pair of shoes in his possession that belonged to a famous basketball player. He is accused of stealing the shoes which were donated to a homeless shelter to raise money. He is sentenced to go to Camp Greenlake, which is a work farm to build character. Everyday, Stanley and the other boys at Camp Greenlake have to dig a large hole in the blazing sun. They are told they will be rewarded if they come across anything of interest. During the time in the book there are flashbacks to Stanley's ancestors who were originally cursed with bad luck by Stanley's ancestor betraying the Zeroni family. One day his best friend Zero runs away from the camp and Stanley follows him because he is worried Zero will get lost in the desert without water. Both boys found a mountain that looks like a thumb, and Stanley remembers a story of one of his ancestors finding refuge on "God's Thumb". They find water and food on top of the mountain, and that's when Zero tells Stanley that Zero is the one who stole the shoes and accidentally got Stanley in trouble. Because of Stanley helping to carry Zero up the mountain, Stanley's curse was broken. They returned to Camp Greenlake in the middle of the night and they discover a chest with Stanley's family name on it. The warden of the camp tries to take it from them but in the end Stanley gets to keep it. The family opens it and finds jewels and money. I would use this in my classroom for quiet reading time for advanced readers.
Lexile Measure: 660L